The public examination of plans for Wales’ most ambitious NSIP (nationally significant infrastructure project) since the Planning Act 2008 came into force has opened in Swansea this week.
Four inspectors have been appointed to scrutinize the £850m project, which would be the world’s first man-made, energy-generating tidal lagoon, with an installed capacity of 320MW. The promoters claim that it would provide a reliable source of renewable energy for some 150,000 homes for 120 years.
The Severn Estuary has been selected for the project as it holds the second highest tidal range in the world.
The scheme raises many novel and complex issues under the Water Framework Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The relationship between the development consent order (DCO) required under the 2008 Act, and the marine licences required under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, is also a main issue.
For the BBC’s coverage of the project, please click here.
Gwion Lewis is acting for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) throughout the examination. As well as being an interested party in the examination given its statutory functions, NRW also exercises marine licensing functions on behalf of the Welsh Ministers.